Usually, when one hears the phrase ‘Ford models’ it conjures thoughts of the diverse number of offerings served up by the automaker, be it in the form of class-leading F-Series trucks, the iconic Mustang or their wide array of cars, crossovers and SUVs. But following the release of a controversial new marketing campaign, the phrase has taken on an equally controversial new connotation.
Ford is widely celebrated as the best-selling vehicle lineup of all time. On the other hand, incest is widely shunned as being ‘pretty gross’, since the majority of us are perfectly content to never direct an amorous thought towards our siblings, first or even second cousins. That said, ‘different strokes for different folks’…
According to John Lawler, Ford’s Vice President of Strategy, “At Ford, we celebrate the diversity of our customer base in all that we do. From the dedicated work-force responsible for building our country from the ground up to the modern family to banjo-playing hillbillies that can’t be trusted around livestock, Ford is proud to offer something for everyone. And with that in mind, we do our best not to limit ourselves in the manner that we market our products.”
Never before has this felt as tangible as in Ford’s new “Family Loyalty” campaign, which features rural families summoning a sense of homegrown Americana. However, the automaker’s decision to present those families in various incestuous posing seems a precarious one. One might assume that, if such scenarios held genuine appeal, it would only do so for a fairly small demographic. Ford disagrees.
“There are 7.5 million registered vehicles in Virginia, with another half a million in West Virginia,” explains Lawler. “Even if only a third of the residents in those two states support incest (and we expect that number to be much, much higher) it counts inbreeds in the millions. And that’s without taking Alabama, Missouri and Arkansas into consideration. Don’t even get us started on South Florida and the Gulf states. So you tell us, are we wrong for targeting these groups in a groundbreaking marketing campaign? Or are we simply acknowledging a widely ignored demographic?”
Ford contends that their campaign is tasteful, depicting the importance of familial bonds and loyalty. Introducing the campaign to the automotive press corps, they challenged the status quo of the American family stating, “You think you love your sister? Have you ever gotten to second base with her? If not, shut up, because Ford Motor Company is rounding third base and headed home in 2019!”
When presented to geographically diverse focus groups, the campaign tests as well as you might think in the southeast (as well as parts of Maine) while receiving a less-than-enthusiastic response everywhere else. Responses including, “Ugh!”, “Gross” and “#Cringeworthy” made it clear that the campaign wouldn’t be aired nationally, and was best suited with regional targeting. That said, it would appear that the gambit has paid off, as Ford’s sales in the southeast have increased up to 8% year-to-date.
Are you a supporter of incest? Ae you looking to love your next vehicle as much as you loved your cousin that one summer? Do you like the music of Florida/Georgia Line? If so, head to your local Ford dealership and find the perfect car, truck or SUV for your filthy, jumbled gene pool.